Last update 5/3/2011 4:26:00 PM (GMT+7)

Vietnam to launch first remote sensing satellite

VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam will launch the first remote sensing satellite in the next three years, to serve monitoring natural resources and natural disasters, said officials from the Institute for Space Technology of Vietnam.

Dr. Doan Minh Chung, the institute’s director, said that Vietnam’s first remote sensing satellite will be designed and assembled completely in the next two years. It will be launched to the orbit in 2013 or 2014.

According to Chung, the job of the remote sensing satellites is taking pictures. As they take pictures at the lower elevation, the pictures are clearer than those taken by telecom satellites.

Pictures taken by the remote sensing satellite will serve the protection of natural resources and environment, earth observing, security and defense, etc.

Dr. Chung said that Vietnam currently has to buy pictures taken by foreign satellites at very high price, $2,000-$5,000 a picture. Worse, the pictures come two months later, so Vietnam cannot quickly update information about oil spills, storms and floods. These pictures are only used for analysis and research activities.

“If Vietnam has its own satellites, it will take the initiative in observing the actual states of the land, the sea, islands and it can restricts losses caused by natural resources,” Dr. Chung said.

However, Chung said that the average lifespan of remote sensing satellites is very short – around five years, while investment capital is quite high.

Vietnam’s first remote sensing satellite project named VNREDSat-1, is a small sized earth observation satellite, a proposed 130 kilos in weight with a five-year life expectancy. The satellite will be capable of capturing earth images from almost 700km in space, to monitor and study the effects of climate change, monitor natural disasters and manage natural resources and the environment.

The project was kicked off seven years ago and it is scheduled to be operational in 2012 and will be used to help Vietnam map its natural resources and provide information about the environment and disasters.

The project is estimated to cost US$100 million, with $74 million funded by France.

Two French companies, ASTRIUM SAS of EADS Astrium Group and VEGA Technologies, had been selected to support Viet Nam in manufacturing and launching the satellite. They would also help upgrade the data receiving station and provide technology transfer, consultation and supervision.

Vietnam’s first telecom satellite, VINASAT-1, was launched in April 2009 to improve telecommunications services, Internet and TV broadcasts to the country’s most remote areas. The $200 million satellite’s footprint extends over India, Southeast and East Asia, andHawaii.